The meadow next to Neptune Wood is now closed during August and early September to prepare the field for grazing.
The owners of the wood and adjoining field, the environmental charity Earth Trust, suspended the closure of the meadow in July following complaints from villagers who said that during the Covid-19 emergency the meadow was a valuable open space for dog owners and the public.
The director of Programmes and Partnerships Ian Nutt said Earth Trust had taken into account the exceptional circumstances of the pandemic and agreed to suspend the closure of the field for six weeks. The meadow may open earlier in September depending on the weather.
One of the Trust’s main concerns is dog faeces contaminating the field which make it difficult and unhealthy to cut the hay. Both the Earth Trust and Long Wittenham Parish Council urge dog walkers to ensure that they collect faeces and dispose of the waste responsibly to avoid pollution of fields and footpaths.
Mr Nutt said it was standard practice every three years to close the meadow in order to maintain the field’s productivity, biodiversity and function for livestock and pedestrians. Earth Trust has erected signs in the area explaining the position to visitors.
He said Earth Trust wanted to engage more with the residents of Long and Little Wittenham and surrounding villages. It is struggling with the effects of the pandemic and would welcome support. There is more information on the Earth Trust website.